You look back at the first golden age of gaming, and there’s a number of titles out there that helped cement a legacy for video game studios. For some reason, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is one of those games, a dark and twisted tail of a knight venturing forth to save the day while facing down hordes of enemies and eventually the titans who guarded each level.
It was the original Dark Souls of its time, if the main character’s armour was about as effective as taking damage as a single sheet of used toilet paper standing between you and a hail of bullets. Anyway, that game is a punishing and brutal gauntlet of stages that feels like an inside joke by the studio, a project from the very bowels of hell that was made to see just how far gamers would be willing to go for the sake of a high-five and the crushing realisation that they’d just dropped several months worth of pocket money on it.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins is the kind of game that deserves to share space Altered Beast, Killer Instinct, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: right in my rubbish bin. Fast forward several decades later, and Capcom’s medieval madness is back, this time with an entirely new face-lift and several other features designed to drag it kicking and screaming into the modern era.
I still hate it, but I admire Ghosts ‘n Goblins for its retro structural perfection. Unclouded by delusions of morality, an exquisite machine for making me want to toss my DualSense controller into the nearest wall.
Mechanically, the basics are exactly as you remember them: The lone knight Sir Arthur, who moves with the grace of a whale with an eating disorder, each blow from supernatural entities stripping him down to his boxers while he hurls a never-ending barrage of weapons at foes who don’t move at a glacial pace.
Each of the levels on offer mix platforming with action, as well as patience with purposefully hard-as-nails gameplay that borders on the ludicrous side of difficulty. If anyone can do a no-hit run on this game, I’ll declare them to be the greatest gamer who ever lived, give them a high-five, and buy them a turbo-mansion.
I’m saying that with the absolute confidence of somebody who called the Snyder Cut of Justice League to be nothing more than a pipe dream, because Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection is that hellishly difficult. Capcom has taken the original game and injected it with a lethal cocktail of difficulty, overwhelming odds that will strip the armor off of Sir Arthur quicker than a medieval-themed Chippendales dancer.
Through out the entire experience though, there’s a game that has been lovingly recreated on a visual level, each surprise trap being rendered in art style of exquisite beauty through the surprisingly versatile RE engine. Magic and power-ups dot the landscape, but no matter how well-armed you are, Ghost ‘n Goblins Resurrection will always kick your ass and laugh in your face while doing so.
There are fortunately James Gurnalist modes on offer where you’re given an infinite supply of lives to burn through while tackling each stage, although the idea of having only a handful of them to preserve while navigating the stomach of a toothy monster or dealing with dragon acrobatics up in the sky makes for a chilling prospect.
Last Updated: June 1, 2021